Now be sure to watch your step, ladies and gentlemen, your feet and your head. We got a lot of funky doors in this place. Alright, OK, we all in? Ma’am, you OK back there? Sir, if you could just take a step to your left so the lady can – OK, good. Sorry again for the tight quarters, ladies and gentlemen, but welcome to a life at sea. We gotta make do with what we have, although what we have here is the command center of one of the most powerful ships in the history of mankind. Y’all know by now, at least by the little badges we had made up for you, that this here is the U.S.S. George Washington, a nuclear powered Nimitz-class carrier and the power-packed punch of Strike Group Five. The Lord and the Pentagon only knows how much this thing costs. Let’s just say this baby’s worth more than all of our families put together and then some, shall we?
I see you’ve all got your notepads out, so again I need to remind you that the Navy is not allowing recording devices of any sort at this particular juncture. So I’ll just go ahead and reintroduce myself as Rear Admiral MacGuffin, and I’m the commander of this here little ship of ours. And I say ours because with the exception of a couple of you over there – keeping my eye on you! – every inch of steel, every ounce of plutonium, every piece of ammunition we carry belongs to the citizens of the U-Nited States of America. Hell, even the clothes on our back. Well, not you all of course, but us, of course, that’s what I’m, ah, referring – so, quite a scene, wouldn’t you say, ladies and gentlemen? Ma’am, if you’re having trouble seeing I’d respectfully ask the gentlem – why thank you fine sir. And they say chivalry is dead, isn’t that right? We here at the United States Navy have the utmost respect for chivalry. And of course we are proud of both the men and the ladies who serve here for us. It can be a lonely life at sea. It can be… uh… so yes, I see you’re all looking around at all the bells and whistles here in the command center, and believe you me ladies and gentlemen every screen, every blinking light, every doodad and whatchamacallit in this place is absolutely vital to our mission.
I’m sorry, sir, what’s that?
Ladies and gentlemen, the mission of every ship in the United States Navy is the protection of the motherland. National security is our business. May sound corny to you, but it’s something we here in the Navy take very seriously. Now let me give you a taste of what I’m talking about. Lazenby! Damnit, Lazenby, turn around and give a nod to these people at least, unless you just want them to go back and give a nice big report about the back of your head. There, wasn’t so hard. Now Lazenby here is manning one of our targeting screens. See that column of gobbledeegook to the right is actually a bunch of intel that’s being fed in by a bunch of folks I can’t tell you about, ladies and gentlemen, because of national security and all that. But once that information is vetted and clarified and confirmed, what Lazenby here does with this screen is bring up the suggested target so we can all have a nice look-see before sending down about 80,000 pounds of funeral arrangements.
Sorry, what’s that, ma’am?
Well, as I said, ma’am, the way the information is collected, see, we can’t really divulge, as it were –
Well yes, you know, it’s cooperation. You know when you’re at work and all the gals are figuring out how to get something done for the boss and you decide to work together to get the job done right and on time? Well it’s the same thing here. What we’re doing is talking to a lot of trusted folks.
Well, both, if I’m honest. But see –
Well yes that’s a very good point, ma’am. So what I was saying was, you should’ve seen this last feller we had. Just a great lad. I mean I never met him personally or anything. It’s a damn shame about what – well, but this was when we were about 150 miles off the coast of Timor. Now, I’ve already said enough to get me in trouble, ladies and gentlemen, so let’s go ahead and consider this off the record, but we were tracking down these damn pirates, you know the kind you all hear about in the news back home all the time that’re causing all sorts of trouble, and this kid set us up with exactly, I mean exactly the right coordinates. I remember useless ol’ Lazenby here pulling that up on his screen and ladies and gentlemen I kid you not it was like Christmas morning. I mean this thing was gift wrapped. And sure enough let’s just say in about 45 minutes that little problem was solved, if you catch my drift. We just sat back and watched this beauty unfold in high definition. I mean this here screen is so goddamn slick even Lazenby here can operate it.
Now I kid, ladies and gentlemen, because Lazenby’s parents are Australian. Technically he was born in Oklahoma, but – what’s that? Ohio – right, makes a world of difference, ain’t that right? Anyways we give him a good ribbing about it from time to time because we’re pretty sure his mama banged a kangaroo at some point. I’m sorry ma’am, I know that was in poor taste. It’s a life at sea, you know. Turns us all into monsters just like the old stories. You know just the other day someone sent me one of those internet videos where there were these two kangaroos and I kid you not they were just out on this plain old road in some normal looking neighborhood – well, normal for Australia – and they were boxing! And I mean punching and kicking like they were people. And someone thought quick enough to go get their camera. Goddamn Aussies, I mean what’ll they think of next down there.
So that’s what Lazenby here’s all about. Any questions on that screen? We should probably move on to the lower quarters, I’m afraid I’ve gone and run my mouth a bit too long up here. Easy to get lost with all these bells and whistles. So if you’ll just head back out through that door we came through, and please ladies and gentlemen watch your head and your feet. Got a lot of funky doors in this place.